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OLPC's £75 laptop to ship next week

Brazil first to receive breakthrough device

Brazil is due to receive the first 50 functional notebooks developed by the OLPC (One laptop per child) project.

The scaled-down laptops feature a 500MHz processor, a low-end screen and run the Linux operating system.

Officials responsible for selecting the platform used in Brazil's national education program hope to receive the equipment around 15 November.

The Laboratory for Integrated Systems at the University of Sao Paulo is testing 15 of the motherboards that are to be used in the 2B1 model notebook from the OLPC.

The state plans to deploy the notebooks in schools in February, a government source confirmed. To meet this goal, the OLPC will deliver a second shipment of 1,000 2B1 notebooks in January.

The first 50 devices will go to researchers in various Brazilian institutions, who will familiarise themselves with the systems in order to develop regional applications, according to the source.

Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the MIT Media Laboratory and chairman of the OLPC, may travel to Brazil in November to deliver the machines. Sources familiar with Negroponte's agenda confirm he will go to Argentina in early November to talk with President Nestor Kirchner, and that Negroponte may extend the trip to Brazil.

The current price estimate for the 2B1 is $140 (£75). Negroponte has said that the production of $100 (£52) laptops would start when there was a minimum of 5 million devices on order.

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